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Monday, 3 December, 2001, 12:16 GMT
Biggs' son loses appeal
Michael Biggs
Michael Biggs wants to stay with his father
The son of train robber Ronnie Biggs has lost his appeal against a Home Office decision to refuse him leave to stay indefinitely in the UK.

Brazilian-born Michael Biggs, 27, broke down in tears after hearing the decision, which he described as "cruel".

He had been told he could stay in the UK for six months when he arrived in May with his 72-year-old ailing father, returning to jail after 35 years on the run.

I'm going to appeal and hope for the best

Michael Biggs
Mr Biggs' appeal to stay in the country was heard by an immigration adjudicator on Thursday.

He said he wanted to remain in the country indefinitely to be near his father who is ill in prison.

He told the immigration hearing last week he was the only person able to really understand his father, who has suffered a number of strokes and can only speak in grunts.

After his appeal was rejected, Mr Biggs said: "I'm absolutely devastated.

Health plea

"My father has been in hospital for 33 days now - it's very, very cruel.

"This means I'm going to appeal and hope for the best."

Biggs with a walking stick leaving court
Biggs has suffered a number of strokes
Mr Biggs is not entitled to British citizenship because his father never married his mother, Brazilian Raimunda Rothen.

But the immigration hearing was told there was nothing to stop Mr Biggs staying in the country on a normal visitor's visa which could be renewed indefinitely as long as he left the UK briefly at the end of its six-month duration.

However, Mr Biggs' solicitor Alison Stanley said if he only had visitor status he would not be allowed to make many trips out of the UK.

Family life

Mr Biggs wanted to be able to fly back to Brazil regularly to see his partner and one-year-old daughter.

The appeal was made under article eight of the Human Rights Act which guarantees the right to private and family life.

Mr Biggs' lawyers argued that not allowing him to remain in the UK indefinitely so he could be near his father was a breach of the article.

He doesn't want to stay forever - apart from anything else it's a very cold country for a Brazilian

Alison Stanley
Michael Biggs' solicitor

But immigration adjudicator Gordon Denson said that Ronnie Biggs' decision to return to the UK was responsible for the disruption of family life.

"The interference with family life in this country is as a result of the appellant's father's decision to return to the UK."

He said Michael Biggs had "known full well" on his return to the UK that his right to family life would be severely affected.

But Ms Stanley insisted an exception could have been made as Mr Biggs had no intention of staying forever.

She said: "Apart from anything else it's a very cold country for a Brazilian.

Compassionate grounds

"There is always discretion and in these exceptional circumstances they could have given him leave to remain.

"There is never ever going to be another great train robber with a foreign son."

She said the case would be appealed to the immigration appeal tribunal and representation would be made to Home Secretary David Blunkett on compassionate grounds.

She added that Mr Biggs currently had "temporary admission" status which runs out in January. It is expected to be extended when his new appeal is lodged, she said.

The Criminal Cases Review Board (CCRB) is currently reviewing the length of Ronnie Biggs' 30-year jail sentence for his part in the 2.6m robbery of the Glasgow to London mail train.

Biggs, suffering from gastric ulcers and feeding problems, is not due for release until 13 May 2020.

See also:

05 Nov 01 | England
Biggs' sentence under review
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